Schneehase (Lepus timidus) im Sommerfell CC BY 2.0 polandeze (

Alpine hare


With an average weight of about three kg and a length of just under 40 to 60 cm, it is slightly smaller than the European hare. Its change of coat from a grey-brown summer coat to a white winter coat is well known. However, this depends on the region: In Ireland it never puts on a white winter coat, but wears it for five months in the European part of Russia and for seven months in some North Asian areas. The Alpine mountain hare (Lepus timidus varronis) is white only in winter. From the white winter coat it shows a transitional coat, which is clearly pied. In summer it is grey-brown, around November the coat turns white and only at the outer tips of the ears it continues to show black hairs. The Northern mountain hare (Lepus timidus timidus) is usually white all year round. The fur serves them as camouflage in the white, snowy environment. Of importance is the adaptation of the ear length to the different climatic conditions. Since hares regulate blood circulation with the help of their ears and thus compensate for heat loss, their ears are consequently shorter the colder their habitat is.

The Alpine hare is a medium-sized hare. In winter, its body shape is reminiscent of a well-fed rabbit. In summer, too, it appears plumper than the brown hare and its ears are noticeably shorter. During the winter, the paws are very furry, which increases the contact surface and allows it to cross snow cover without sinking too deeply.


The habitat of the Alpine hare is tundra areas, forests and moors. They are mainly nocturnal and spend the day burrowed in the snow or hidden in the ground. Unlike most other true hares, Alpine hares often live socially.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia ( On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 19 August 2021